The first role that the omniscient narrator fulfils is that of a reporter. He recounts the events which had taken place. This is true in Mhudi. There are two instances where the narrator become visible in the narrative, this is in the beginning of chapter 5 The Forest Home which recounts the founding of Re-Nosi and in chapter 19 Mhudi and Mmnandi where Mhudi and arrives at the camp where Ra-Thaga and De Villiers were stationed during the battle with Matabele. In chapter 5 the reader can rightfully say that the omniscient narrator has stepped out of the shadows right into the spotlight of the narrative discourse from the first line that opens that chapter, that line, correctly put those several passages confirms the union of Mhudi and Ra-Thaga from an intimate perspective of their child, the narrator, as a focaliser, following the account of chapter 4 thus ‘That exactly is how my father and mother met and became husband and wife’ (see page 41) confirms that the narrator speaks at a different distant than that occupied when he speaks in the third person, hence intimacy in reportage.
Mhudi’s account of the Matebele raid on Kunana, her flight to safety and survival in the wilderness that she relates to Ra-Thaga in chapter 3 helps the reader to concretise Mhudi’s character. W may agree that she comes out as a strong woman, fearful yet determined to survive when faced with adversity.
Depiction of Character in Mhudi
In Mhudi there are about twenty two characters. In dealing with characterisation in this section I will restrict my attention on three principal characters. Namely Mhudi, Ra-Thaga and Mzilikazi.
The other characters’ roles are to help the principal characters to fulfill their function within the narrative. While Mzilikazi seeks supreme rule, Mhudi and Ra-Thaga seek revenge against him.
Dynamic Element: Verbal Characterisation
Mzilikazi’s address to his people after the raid of Kunana renders him a proud king. However his second speech before the story ends characterises him as a disappointed man because he did not meet his expectations, his ambitions (see chapter 4 and chapter 20).
The depiction of character in this novel is achieved through focalization of the characters by the narrator and other characters as well as through the characters when they speak (Verbal Elements). The depiction of character is also achieved through what the characters think (Mental Elements).
We have also seen how a name, which is a Static Elements, plays a role in characterisation on a textual level – in terms of what the name translates into. Although some of the elements of characterisation are not easily discernable, the characters in Mhudi are lifelike and the reader can identify with them as real even though the narrative relates a story set about two centuries ago.